FDCPA Violations Explained

Today, we’re going to be talking about five of the most common violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Hi, my name’s Mike Ziegler. I’m the managing attorney for the Debt Fighters. We’re a Florida law firm that focuses on helping consumers to eliminate serious debt problems with a strategic approach.

At a center backdrop, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is a Federal law found under 15 USC section 1692. That set of laws creates what I call senses of decency among debt collectors. They have to follow certain rules, even if you owe a debt, to make sure that you’re not being overly aggressively collected upon.

The FDCPA, the Federal law, only applies to debt collectors as that term is defined. What that means is that most debt collectors aren’t going to be the company that originated the debt, your original credit card company or mortgage company. They’re going to be a down the line company that collects on the debt after it’s fallen behind and their exclusive role will be collection on accounts that are already delinquent.

Now, in Florida, we have a counterpart to the FCCPA, Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices Act, and that particular law is going to apply to all companies that are collecting on balance, whether they are a “debt collector” or even if they’re an original creditor. So most of the same protections offered under the FDCPA for Florida residents are also going to apply under the FCCPA Florida law.

So let’s talk about five of the most common violations of the FDCPA. First is going to be the harassing manner of calls. So a debt collector can’t call you too often, particularly if you’ve asked them not to call. A debt collector can’t call you if you have sent them a cease letter under 1692C, asking them that the debt collector discontinue communication. A debt collector can’t call you names or embarrass you or otherwise just be overly assertive in their communications. So that’s going to be violation number one.

The second violation is disclosure to third parties about the debt. So the debt collector generally cannot contact friends, family, and usually not employers about outstanding debt, particularly before a judgment has been entered. So if there’s a collection company that’s disclosing to third parties that there’s a balance that’s owed, there may be a violation of the law.

The third set of restrictions under the FDCPA have to do with the debt collector’s initial communication. So the first time that a debt collector contacts a consumer, they’re required to provide certain disclosures in writing under 1692G. A lot of times in the industry, we refer to this as a G notice. That G notice requires that certain content be provided to the consumer about what the debt is, who it was originated by, and who it’s being collected upon. The debt collector can’t mask who they are.

The fourth set of violations is going to be false or misleading information. So if the debt collector is saying that you owe more than what you actually owe, if they’re saying that they can sue you on a debt that is past the time period that a debt can be sued upon, this is called the statute of limitations. Then that may also be a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

The fifth set of violations is that a debt collector has to be transparent about who they are and they can’t bluff about legal actions. A debt collector can’t send you letters saying that they’re about to sue you if they don’t actually have an intent to sue you. So if all their letters say that they may file a lawsuit but lo and behold, 6, 12, 24 months go by and no lawsuit has been filed, then that may be in violation of the law. Likewise, if the debt collector is a non-law firm but they are giving the impression that they are a law firm, that too can be a violation of your rights.

Those are different types of violations under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. If you have questions about whether your rights have been violated and you’d like a complimentary consultation with one of our qualified attorneys, I encourage you to schedule a no-risk consultation.

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